Whether you have one day or a week to spend in the Boyne Valley we have some fantastic Itineraries to help you get the most from your visit.
The Boyne Valley was proud to be named as one of the ‘World’s Best Food Destinations’ in 2019 by the National Geographic Traveller, alongside the cities of Bologna in Italy and Cusco in Peru.
As the heartland of Ireland’s Ancient East and the seat of the ancient High Kings of Ireland, the Boyne Valley continues a proud heritage of producing food and drink experiences fit for a king or queen! The historic Boyne Valley is home to a bountiful supply of passionate farmers, skilled food and drinks producers, along with world-class chefs and eateries who are devoted to bringing the rich flavours of the landscape to your table.
Getting to the Boyne Valley is very direct – the M1 from the Dublin Airport will take you to the heart of it in 30 minutes and from Belfast City in just over one hour – once you arrive you can take things at your own pace, by exploring the back roads of this historic valley – discover for yourself its quaint villages and cosy pubs and mingle with the locals who are only too willing to share their stories. The Boyne Valley encompasses so much from scenic coastlines to ancient monuments and a thriving food & drink scene full of passionate producers who use the fertile lands surrounding the river Boyne to grow,rear, produce & make their produce just as their ancestors did over the last 5000 years.
This route incorporates the towns of Slane and Drogheda along with their accompanying townlands & features some truly spectacular sights & experiences.
Slane village is situated on the banks of the Boyne and is surrounded by sites on significant historic importance such as Brú na Bóinne, Dowth, the Hill of Slane just to mention a few and while no visit to Slane would be complete without taking in some of these sites it would also not be complete without enjoying some of the fantastic flavours & food experiences on offer.
Thanks to the passion of local producers Slane has built quite a food scene in the last few years and is definitely a great place to enjoy some foodie adventures.
To begin your adventures in Slane start by taking in the famous Slane Castle & Slane Whiskey Distillery where you can enjoy a guided tour through the authentic working distillery. Visitors are taken through the entire whiskey making process, learning about the incredible heritage of the buildings and the Distillery’s expertise in raising barrels and coopering along the way. The tour culminates with a tasting of their signature triple casked Slane Irish Whiskey. Irish Coffee Class and Whiskey Cocktail Classes also available.
If you're not in a rush enjoy a relaxed lunch in Brownes Bar in the Castle itself and make sure to check out all the Slane Castle Concert Memorabilia while you're there.
After a relaxing lunch you could then do the Slane Food Circle Food Tour (pre booking essential) where you will visit 4 local producers- Carina Conyngham Rock Farm, Michael Finnegan Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheese, Mark Jenkinson The Cider Mill and Jack Rogers Newgrange Gold. At each location you will learn all about the produce created there, the history of the farm, & of course enjoy tasting the products themselves. The full tour lasts a full afternoon but if you can’t spare that much time the producers of Slane Food Circle also have shorter tours to their individual Farms on offer (Pre-booking essential for all)
Ireland’s Ancient East Organic Farm Tour at Rock Farm Slane
Guided tour of the 100% organic farm. Learn what daily life is like on the farm which is home to Dexter cows, Tamworth pigs, vegetable gardens, and eco-glamping accommodation. Bread baking and sample tastings are included.
Meet the Cheesemaker at Mullagha Goat Farm
Meet Michael and Jenny Finegan and 400 adorable goats on Mullagha Farm, which dates back to 1510 and is built on the foundations of an original iron age fort. Learn the farm history, what modern daily life is like and taste their award-winning Boyne Valley Blue Cheese.
Food, Folk & Farming Tour at The Cider Mill
A unique backstage pass into the world of traditional farmhouse cider-making. Experience a live demo at the home of the multiaward-winning Cockagee Irish Keeved Cider. End the tour with a tutored cider tasting.
Another interesting Food Experience on offer in this area is a tour of Shalvanstown Organic Farm (pre-booking essential) here you can learn all about organic and biodynamic farming.
Once you have completed your day's activities it's time to put your feet up and enjoy a delicious meal & a good night sleep! Slane offers many different types of accommodation & dining out options-
Tankardstown House and Restaurant, is set amongst an 80 acre estate of woodland, parkland, courtyards and walled gardens, just 7kms from the village of Slane. The name of Tankardstown has become synonymous with good food, in both Brabazon Restaurant, which is open to residents and non-residents alike, the team of talented Chefs offer seasonal dishes created from local produce where possible.
Conygham Arms Hotel
The Conyngham Arms is a classic country village hotel and traditional country kitchen restaurant, set in the heart of historic Slane, Co. Meath. A beautifully restored 18th Century coaching inn, offering luxurious accommodation and good food in a traditional warm and atmospheric setting.
Rock Farm Slane Glamping
Rock Farm Slane Boutique Camping (Glamping) offers you Gold-Certified Ecotourism Luxury Camping on the River Boyne between April and November for fun-packed holidays or private events in one or all of our 5 yurts and 2 shepherds huts
Rock Farm also has accommodation available in their eco guest lodge- Lime House.
Slane Castle offers two dining options for visitors-
The Gandon Room Restaurant offers a dining experience you will not forget. Named after one of the principal Architects of the Castle James Gandon, you will feel you have arrived into a very special place indeed. Guests will enter through the Castle Courtyard and arrive in the relaxed and elegant reception area which adjoins the Gandon Room.
Browne’s Bar is an eclectic space which ties in the Castle history and Rock and Roll. As you would expect Browne’s Bar offers a wide range of drinks to suit all tastes be it whiskeys, fine wines, cocktails and a delicious Bar Food Menu for more casual dining.
While you are in the Slane region make sure to look out for the following local produce in shops & eateries-
- Boyne Pastures
- Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheese
- Rock Farm
- Newgrange Gold
- The Cider Mill
- Slane Whiskey
- Shalvanstown Organic Farm
As you leave Slane behind a follow the River Boyne further on up the road you will be heading towards the county of Louth and the town of Drogheda- a medieval town with a wealth of unique attractions within walking distance of each other. Drogheda derives its name from the Irish Droichead Átha meaning ‘Bridge of the Ford’. It is the largest town in Co. Louth – Ireland’s smallest county – which is named after Lugh, the great God of the Celts.
Drogheda and its surrounding townlands have so many magical food adventures and experiences just waiting to be discovered and you could easily spend a few days exploring and experiencing them all.
While in this part of the Boyne Valley there are several unmissable Food Experiences beginning with Listoke Gin School- spend an afternoon learning all about gin making & distilling your very own bottle of gin which you then get to take home with you! A tour of the distillery and locally produced nibbles are part of the experience (pre-booking essential)
If you want to brush up on your cooking skills check out the classes on offer in East Coast Cookery School, Unglu-d and An Grianán Cookery School while you are in the area.
Just down the road from Drogheda the beautiful seaside village Annagassan is home to The Glyde Inn which offers The Annagassan Viking VR and Seafood Experience- within the comfort of the Glyde Inn, board a Viking ship and travel back to 841 A.D through this fun and fully-immersive-virtual reality experience. Afterwards, enjoy a Viking platter of delicious local seafood, washed down with a Viking beer!
If you are in Drogheda the first Saturday of the month then make sure to check out The Cottage Market in the beautiful setting of St Peters Church of Ireland. There is something for all the family with an eclectic mix of stalls that showcase local produce and products from the Boyne Valley.
Another fantastic experience available on offer from Farm Tours Ireland is their new Boyne Valley Farm Tour. Guests will visit three food producers, enjoy a Boyne Valley lunch menu, all from the comfort of a bus and under the guidance of one of our expert guides. Guests will leave with an appreciation of why these food producers, their products and their flavours are intrinsically linked to the Boyne Valley, along with an understanding of the history of the region.
Where to Stay & Dine-
Scholars Townhouse Hotel
The hotel is very centrally located in the heart of Drogheda’s City Centre and was originally built in 1867 as a monastery for the Christian Brothers by renowned Architects Ashlin and Pugin who are noted for designing many parliamentary buildings across Ireland and the Uk. The Late Victorian building was renovated by the McGowan family in 2005 who have transformed the magnificent building into a 16 bedroom boutique Hotel.
The Hotel has won numerous awards and most recently Best Hotel Restaurant Co. Louth 2015 & 2016 and has been awarded 2AA rosettes for 2015 & 2016. The Hotel has 16 en suite bedrooms, Fine Dining Restaurant, Bar and Gastrolounge. Scholars Townhouse is an excellent destination for food and relaxation.
Dating back over 300 years, The Cottages Ireland are 6 exclusive, luxurious thatched holiday cottages superbly set in a hamlet like setting on Ireland’s east coast.
These unique 5 star whitewashed seaside cottages are situated on the famous six mile sandy beach between the villages of Bettystown and Laytown, just 25 minutes from Dublin Airport, making them the perfect base from which to explore the hidden treasures of the Boyne Valley and Ireland’s Ancient East.
Set amongst picturesque organic gardens, part of the Boyne Valley Garden Trail, The Cottages are that wonderous thing, an undiscovered treasure, somewhere once experienced never to be forgotten. With uninterrupted sea or garden views take time to exhale in this oasis of calm and beauty, above all relax, revive, recharge. You will not be disappointed!
The Glyde Inn
The Glyde Inn was awarded National Pub of The Year and Irish Food Pub of the Year 2018 at the Irish Pub Awards in RDS. Traditional Irish Pub and Sea View Restaurant.The Glyde Inn sits in the heart of natural beauty. A place of sandy beach, deep blue sea and distant granite mountains. Their restaurant specialises in local seafood and using local ingredients from the Boyne Valley.
Monasterboice Inn is a restaurant on the main Dublin Belfast route, 5 minutes from Monasterboice monastic site, including the world famous Muiredocks cross. They specialise in steak and scampi. They have their own herd of beef cattle and provide their own beef for the restaurant.
The Smugglers Rest
The Smugglers Rest Seafood Gastropub - Clogherhead Co. Louth. Bringing Port Oriel's best quality seafood straight from pier to plate, while serving up the finest local beers and spirits as well as the old favourites.
Local Coffee roasters Ariosa Coffee have a gorgeous cafe perfect for a break from sightseeing & shopping in the heart of Drogheda on St.Lawrence’s Street.
While is this beautiful part of the Boyne Valley make sure to keep an eye out for the following locally produced Food & Drink-
- Boyne Brewhouse/Boann Distillery
- Dan Kelly’s Cider/ Boyne Grove Fruit Farm
- Dowling Orchard PorknBacon
- Drummond House Garlic
- Dunany Flour
- Olive Pork
- Oriel Sea Salt
- The Studio Coffee Roasters
- Ariosa Coffee
- Ballymakenny Farm
- Derrycamma Oil
- Bee Natural
- Lannliere Honey
- Listoke Distillery
- Rock Farm Slane
- The Cider Mill
- Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheese
- Newgrange Gold
- Boyne Pastures Cheese
- Shalvanstown Organic Produce
We hope this itinerary has give you some guidance and inspiration for your visit to this part of the Boyne Valley. Please share your pics of your visit to the Boyne Valley using the hashtag BoyneValleyFlavours so we can see your pics!